Records tumble at National Swimming Championships
Records tumbled at the National Swimming Championships last weekend.
Leading the way at the National Sports Centre in the first national championships since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions were siblings Jack and Emma Harvey, who both broke records after returning to the island from the United States, where they study at Penn State University.
Emma Harvey wasted no time in making a huge impression, setting two new bests on the opening day of the event last Friday.
She first swam 28.91 seconds in the 50 metres backstroke to topple her previous best set at the TYR Pro Series in Woodmont in April and then went on to swim 27.09 in the 50 butterfly, breaking Maddy Moore’s record of 27.12, which was set at the 2021 Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships.
Harvey’s brother Jack did his bit for the family honours by setting a 200 metres backstroke record in a time of 2:04.01, beating his previous best set in April at the TYR Pro Series Meet in Woodmont.
Elijah Daley, back in Bermuda from Canada, produced a superb time of 2:08.66 in the 200 metres butterfly to smash the record of 2:12.18 set by Tyler Mazurek in 2016.
National swimming coach Ben Smith was thrilled that the level of competition was enhanced by the several overseas-based athletes returning home to compete.
“Specific highlights were Emma Harvey and Jack Harvey who were just outstanding throughout the competition, posting several personal best times in a couple of national records,” Smith said.
“Elijah Daley also came in from Canada and was able to perform at a really high level, putting in some fantastic swims.
“Having those athletes here set a great example for younger athletes who were pushed to raise the level of their participation in the competition and overall we saw several athletes being able to reach times that they have been looking to do throughout this season.”
Just bubbling under those tremendous record-breaking performances were a string of fine displays by young swimmers aiming to be selected for a number of big international overseas competitions this year.
Bella Howes, 16, impressed Smith in the 100 metres freestyle in which she competed against university athletes, something the national team coach believes bodes well for her as she prepares for the Commonwealth Youth Games.
Elanna Fulton was another swimmer reaching the required standard for the Youth Commonwealth Games as did Thomas Cechini, who was competing in the US over the weekend,
Cechini broke the Bermuda boys 15-16 age group record in the 800 freestyle in a time of 8:55.41, surpassing Daley’s time of 9:03.16 set in 2022.
The team for the Commonwealth Youth Games, which is to be held in Trinidad and Tobago from August 4 to 11, will be selected next week.
“This was the last opportunity to qualify for Commonwealth Youth Games and also for the World Championships,” Smith said.
“It was really exciting to see people put in their best effort, hit qualifying times, and be prepared for selection to those teams.”
Scarlett Spurling and Joey Cechini were crowned junior national champions, while Marleigh Howes and Elijah Daley were named senior national champions.
Gabby and Joey Cechini were each awarded junior high point winners for individual swims.
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